One of the most challenging areas for any service contracting business is the point of customer interaction when the actual option presentation and request for business occurs.
Why has this become a seemingly complex concept for our technicians and salespeople to embrace? There are numerous factors involved, but this month I want to focus on just a couple of them, plus give you some tools to help your team become more comfortable with this essential (and very rewarding) step of the service process.
Technicians are not salespeople. Wow, I get tired of hearing this! The statement can be both true and false, depending on how you perceive the big, bad, nasty word, “salesperson.”
Here’s a different spin that many of you don’t want to hear: All technicians are salespeople! How can they not be? If they’re truly focused on taking care of customers’ needs and desires, discovering what should be repaired, replaced or upgraded in their homes, then proceeding to offer appropriate options, they definitely can be classified as salespeople.
Technicians are simply making a customer aware of things in his home that need attention, then offering solutions to fulfill his needs and wants. For some reason, many people in our great industry have decided that technicians’ roles don’t require good customer communication skills, and that it’s acceptable for them to look like they just left a show at Woodstock and stepped into 2012.
As long as you have front-line team members offering your products and services to your customers, they are performing a sales job. Their communication skills are of utmost importance and their appearance is equally crucial.
The problem lies in how they perceive their interactions with the customer. Most technicians do not want to be classified as salespeople. This is fine, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of communicating an effective presentation to a customer. Our products, services and marketplace differentiation need to be shown in an understandable, professional manner.
The point is this: We can call them whatever we choose. They can perceive themselves however they like. At the end of the day, however, we need our technicians to be building great relationships with our customers. We need them to be making the best presentation possible, with a comprehensive list of options, so the customer can make the positive decision to do business with our company.
Let’s remove a little pressure from these guys and gals. Let’s say we allow them not to be salespeople but we have them follow an effective process for presenting options and information to our customers. This simply helps them understand that a good presentation will aid the customer in making an informed purchasing decision, which will ultimately benefit the customer, the technician and the company. This is our specific intention with the process: a mutually beneficial interaction and relationship.
Presentation basicsIn my live two-day C.S.I. Technician Success Academy communication and sales training program, we focus on a few simple things that technicians can implement to have more success during the vital presentation aspect of the service call. This is about helping them win more often than not, and when they win with the customers, we all win.
Let’s continue to simplify this process by answering a question: What is a presentation?
When you boil it down to the absolute basics, a sales presentation is nothing more than an advertisement delivered in person. That’s it; simple and to the point. It’s no different than advertisements in any other form; our presentation’s sole purpose is to convince the potential customer to purchase from us.
We see this process in action with television, radio, print, Internet banner ads and countless other media sources. This presentation of options and benefits is a “live” advertisement delivered directly to the prospect, explaining why he should choose to do business with us.
We have an unbelievable advantage in our industry that most contractors take for granted, don’t really understand and, quite frankly, completely miss the mark on. This is the fact that we get the opportunity to deliver these benefits and options directly to the buyer. When you think about other advertisements such as the ones I mentioned, there’s no real human interaction.
The companies advertising to us are attempting to stir enough emotion within us through whatever medium of communication possible. They would love to have us sitting right in front of them, in person, with our attention focused directly on them. We have that ability with our clients in this industry and it’s a huge advantage for us. Stop wasting this opportunity and start making it count!
Buying optionsA great way to maximize this potential is to teach your technicians effective communication skills. Train them how to skillfully present a few different options on every service call. It’s really important to invest in this area of your business, your team and your customers. This will provide your biggest return on an investment for your business since you bought your first truck!
Let’s work as hard as possible to keep it simple. When we can get our technicians and “salespeople” to feel comfortable having a quality conversation with our customers, great things happen for everyone. Nobody likes to be sold, but everyone loves to buy.
Selling and presenting buying options for our customers is really quite simple, but we tend to complicate it. I’m advocating a simplified approach because when we have our team concentrate on a few specific concepts, everything else falls into place:
1. Ask the customer exploratory questions about his wants, needs and desires.
2. Focus intently on the customer, pay attention and listen fully to his answers.
3. Provide options that satisfy his wants and needs, solve his problems and make his life easier. Remind him of the answers he gave during the exploration process.
4. Transfer feelings of enthusiasm regarding you, your company and the solutions you’re presenting.
5. Ask the customer to make a choice today.
Does this sound too simple? Good. It really is this simple, but sometimes we have a perspective that unnecessarily complicates the process. My life’s passion is helping other people do more, become more and accomplish better results than they ever thought possible. This always begins with a change in perspective. Perhaps it’s time to change your perspective by incorporating a simple and effective presentation into your sales strategy.